South Cornelly - Brief History
Ty Maen, South Cornelly
South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century.
It is the 'original' Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known
as 'Thomastown' after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here.
His descendants subsequently adopted the name 'De Cornelly' and their house is believed to have stood
where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.
The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features.
Above the main door is carved the war cry of the
Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis
a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle -
neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality. Some years ago a Priest's hole was
discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard.
The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house 'Meadowrise' is located - it stood by the wall
nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.
Lamb Row (Rhes Yr Oen)
Lamb Row, South Cornelly
Lamb Row was the original main street which led from the main road up to the small medieval chapel at the foot
of a rocky outcrop.
Legend has it that the chapel was connected to Ty Maen by an underground passage - the chapel was dedicated
to a Breton saint named Cornelius from which the village took its name. The chapel was turned in to a cottage but
now is a forlorn ruin in the garden of a private house.
Not apparent when seen from the village, the entire back of the hill against which the chapel stood has been
quarried away over the past two centuries to supply lime for the iron and steel industry. It was one of several
such limeworks in the area and in the past South Cornelly and the surrounding countryside were perpetually coated
with light grey dust from the quarries and kilns.
The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway (Rheilffordd Dyffryn Llynfi Porthcawl)
Signal Box, South Cornelly
Built between 1825 and 1829, The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway connected a new harbour built at Porthcawl
with iron works that had sprung up further inland at Cefn Cribbwr, Aberkenfig and Maesteg.
The railway covered a total distance of 16¾ miles descending some 490 feet from its starting point
near Caerau, Maesteg. Designed for horse-drawn traffic it was a single track line with passing places and was
built to a 4ft 6inch gauge with the rails fixed to stone blocks rather than wooden sleepers so as to leave
a clear path between which horses and handlers could walk along.
A time-table dating from 1855 shows that it took 6¼ hours to travel from the terminus in the valley
to Porthcawl and that the return trip was about 2¼ hours longer.
The trains brought iron and coal to the coast for export to worldwide destinations and on the return trip
stopped at South Cornelly to collect lime for use at the iron works. As lime was an effective fertilizer, several
farmers in the Maesteg area with arrangement with the railway company, operated their own trams on the line
to collect supplies for their own use.
Passenger traffic started on the line as early as 1836 and became increasingly important when the track
was converted to use by steam trains in 1861 making Porthcawl a popular destination for day trippers and holiday
makers alike. This section of line from Porthcawl to Cefn Cribbwr junction remained operational until the 1960's when
it was closed as a result of the Beeching Act
At south Cornelly where a lane crossed the railway by a manned level crossing - the former gate keeper's
house still survives as a modernised private dwelling whilst opposite it stands the local public house
now known as The Three Horse Shoes (Originally called The Horse and Tram).
The public house fronted onto the railway and offered welcome refreshment for hauliers working the line
before setting off on the long return journey back to
(1) Bridgend Library & Information Services, Coed Parc, Bridgend
(2) Cornelly Community Council
(3) Mr Rob Bowen, personal local historical knowledge
Mr Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group,2008.